Woodstock: How It Happened (and Why It Almost Didn’t)

Boston University

William McKeen is the Chair of the Department of Journalism at Boston University, where he also teaches media history, literary journalism, and rock ‘n’ roll history.  He is the author or editor of 13 books, including Everybody Had an OceanToo Old to Die Young and Rock and Roll is Here to Stay.  



Imagine this: suddenly, you find out that a half million people are visiting this weekend. What will you serve? It wasn’t quite that way for the organizers of the Woodstock Festival in 1969, but it was close. The organizers planned for a crowd … but they never expected those kinds of numbers.  This talk is about the behind-the-scenes machinations of putting the thing together against horrifying odds. For the organizers, this was an event along the lines of a community-involved art installation by the French artist, Christo. When Christo involved people in sharing a vision and a project, they discovered a journey more vital than a destination: the art was in the doing.  We will also talk about the music, of course, and the abject fear the musicians felt with an audience that large.




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Mac Vineyard

the good

Fascinating presentation about Woodstock and the history of rock music. Thank you.

1 year ago
Melanie Loder


Intresting and informative. Loved the film clips. Thanks!!

1 year ago
Sylvia Rosas

Woodstock in an Hour and Wonderful!

I thought I knew pretty much all there was about Woodstock but learned more in this presentation. Great job by the Professor. Tight, organized and engaging.

1 year ago
Bruce Graye


I love all of Dr. McKeens lectures and went to library to get one of his books that he is written…His presentations are wonderful and informative…

1 year ago
James Kefford


Woodstock was my era as a late teen but I did not get there. However, I understood its impact and the Professor weaves the story beautifully. Well worth the hour.

1 year ago
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